Me and Laura had a trip to Bridlington today. We started by swinging by the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs reserve, which is an impressive breeding ground for Gannets, Kittiwakes and other seabirds. There were also loads of Guillemots around in the sea, although sadly we were a bit early for Puffins.
Walking past a couple, one of them told us they’d just seen a dolphin not far from the cliffs. Pointing it out Laura clearly saw it as it broke the surface, and I completely failed to see it. After that it wasn’t seen again. Annoyingly I dipped a dolphin today. Bah.
Bridlington was, as usual, home to a scary amount of huge, cocky Herring Gulls, plus large numbers of Turnstones which busied themselves round your feet and begged for chips like strange-looking starlings. There were also quite a few with gammy feet, just like the usual affliction that affects town pigeons.
As well as gulls and Turnstones, the harbour was also home to many Redshanks, and examining some cormorants paid dividends… one turned out to be my first Shag of the year (anyone sniggering there should be ashamed), and one wasn’t a cormorant at all, but a Diver! No expert on wintering divers, I’ve been flitting between Black-throated and Red-throated identifications all day, but on reflection I feel Red-throated more likely, as the bird seemed pretty small (smaller than the Shag which is was near to), and greyer than you’d expect from a Black-throated. Jury’s still out though…
On the way home, we made a quick detour to Hornsea Mere, which is a large lake, the banks of which include a cafe and boat club that seems to have been unchanged from the 1950s. Mainly Mallards, Greylags, Mute Swans and Canada Geese, the mere also included a Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Ducks and quite a large flock of Goldeneye.
I also got quite excited by a Whooper Swan, before realising it must have been a tame one, as it was harrassing some men in a hut until they came out and fed it a bowl of seed. Is it a resident there? Or a bird that got a bit used to being looked after? If anyone knows this swan’s story then let me know!